That’s a bizarre title: Learn German, Then Stay Home Anyway. The subtitle doesn’t quite explain anything: “Unemployed Europeans are studying German to find work. But so are the employed ones.”
Here’s the catch:
“Germany doesn’t have a shortage of workers.” That’s Alex Torrent, a 34-year-old architect who has already studied English and French. He was registering for his second year of German. “They aren’t looking for more people. People think if they learn the language, they go to Germany and work in their career [field]. But when they go there, they end up working as waiters.”
That’s not a common observation here. It’s more common to see Germany as an easy place to get a job. Torrent’s closer to the truth: A recent OECD study found that of the million immigrants who arrived to Germany for work last year, 600,000 had already left. More people immigrated to Turkey from Germany than the reverse last year. A report by Der Spiegel, quoting the OECD numbers, found that only one in two Greeks and one in three Spanish immigrants stayed in Germany after their first year. The idea of having access to the powerful German economy from home, without actually going to Germany, makes sense in light of those numbers.
OK then. After German, we should start learning Chinese.